Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tum mac houng/ Som Tum

Depending on where you are from and what you speak you will call this Som Tum (Thai) or Tum mac houng or Som Lao (Lao). Lao food is traditionally spicier- as far as heat, than Thai food. It's also less sweet. There are also two distinct ways of making this, Thai style or Lao style. Thai style generally has salted crab and or dried shrimp and is sometimes topped with crushed peanuts. Of course depending on who is making it and who your grandma is there are thousands of ways people make this. Some use salted fish, dried shrimp, shrimp paste, salted crab, MSG,vegetarian style is made with a "white" soy sauce and on and on. Sometimes long beans are added, or shredded carrots. I make ours simple. Spicy for DH and I and mild for the girls. Vegetarian style for DH, no fish sauce. I also like just long beans instead of papaya, or just cucumber.

Green Papaya
Fish sauce
Thai bird chilies
Mushroom seasoning (optimal)
Pa deak or anchovy
You also need a mortar and pestle

I use a vegetable peeler to peel the papaya.

There are two ways to shred this papaya. The traditional way, or way I grew up with is tapping the papaya with a knife long ways several times, not hard you don't want to cut through it.

Then slice thing shreds off of it, and continues until you get to the middle.

Me?? I just use my shredder doo hickey. Sure the shreds aren't as fine but hey it's faster.

Into your mortar add a clove or two of peeled garlic and as many chilies as you want.

Add the salt. About 1/2 teaspoon, but it depends on how much salad you are making.

Some sugar.

Pound it up good.

See? Now add some papaya and push it down and bruise it a little with the pestle.

Add lime juice, I throw the wedge in there but it's up to you.

Add some fish sauce. A tablespoon?

And cherry tomatoes, 6 or so?
Pound it up good and make sure you use a spoon to push down the salad so it gets mixed up.
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